If your heart valve disorder symptoms prevent you from working in Pittsburgh, you may struggle to make ends meet. For many people who suffer from a disabling condition, disability benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), are the only way to pay their bills and feed their family.
The Berger and Green disability team knows how to get Social Security Disability (SSD) for heart valve disorders. We understand what the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks for in a qualifying claim. We can double-check your paperwork to improve your chances of approval. We will also fight for the benefits you need and deserve if the SSA denied your initial claim. We can file your appeal and represent you in your appeals hearing. Call our office today at 412-661-1400 for a free case review.
How Can I Prove I Have a Qualifying Disability?
The SSA will only approve benefits for those who suffer from a total, long-term disability. This means your condition must prevent you from working, and must be long-term or terminal in nature. The easiest way to prove you have a qualifying impairment is to meet the criteria under the applicable criteria in the SSA’s Blue Book of impairment listings. Some conditions, however, do not have a specific listing in this book. Heart valve disorders are one of those conditions.
This does not mean you cannot qualify based on an impairment listing, though. Even though there is no specific listing for heart valve disorders, there are several in Section 4.00 of the Blue Book that could cover the symptoms or complications that prevent you from working. These cardiovascular conditions could include:
- Ischemic heart disease;
- Symptomatic congenital heart disease;
- Recurrent arrhythmias; and
- Chronic heart failure.
We can help you understand the specific impairment listing that could apply to your condition and explain the criteria you must meet to qualify. Even if you do not meet the criteria under an impairment listing, we can still help you prepare your claim and explain how the SSA will determine if you qualify for benefits outside of the impairment listings. If your heart valve disorder prevents you from working and participating in other everyday activities, we can help you get the SSD benefits you deserve.
What If I Do Not Meet the Criteria in an Impairment Listing?
Heart valve disorders can cause a variety of symptoms, some of which can make it difficult to work a regular job. If your symptoms, side effects of medication, or other factors related to your condition make it impossible to work, you may be able to qualify for SSDI or SSI without meeting the criteria in an impairment listing.
To qualify for disability benefits without using an impairment listing, the SSA will consider your residual functional capacity (RFC). Only if your RFC shows you cannot work any job will you qualify for benefits. To understand your RFC, the SSA examiner will ask a doctor to assess your abilities by completing a special worksheet about your condition. Occasionally, the SSA may request you see an independent doctor for a consultative medical exam in order to complete this worksheet. The SSA pays for this exam.
Do I Need to Talk to My Doctor About Disability Benefits?
We recommend working with your doctor before you file your claim. This is because your medical records play a major role in proving you have qualifying disability. If your doctor has not included all of the available information about your condition in your file, you may not qualify for the benefits you deserve.
The SSA examiner will contact your doctor as part of reviewing your file, so it is a good idea to let your healthcare provider know a call is coming. If you talk to your doctor as soon as you begin considering filing for benefits, they can document your symptoms, note how they impair your activities, document your diagnosis, run all tests and scans the SSA requires based on your condition, and clearly outline your current health condition.
What Is a Technical Qualification?
In addition to proving you suffer from a qualifying impairment, you also need to meet the technical qualifications for SSDI or SSI. If you fail to meet these, the SSA could issue a technical denial for your claim.
SSDI Technical Qualifications
The SSA does not consider financial need when determining who qualifies for SSDI benefits, but you will need to meet other technical qualifications. Primarily, you must:
- Have enough work credits to qualify, depending on your age and work history.
- If you can continue to work, have an earned income that falls below the current substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit; and
SSI Technical Qualifications
The SSA awards SSI benefits solely based on financial need. Because of this, there are strict income and asset limits. These limits are quite low and they change each year. While the SSA counts several types of income toward this limit, you do not need work credits to qualify for the SSI program.
What If the SSA Denies My Disability Claim?
The SSA denies many more SSDI and SSI claims than you may realize. If you receive a letter of denial, the best thing you can do is give us a call. We know how the appeals process works and can help you get the benefits you deserve. It is important not to delay your appeal, so call us as soon as possible after you receive your letter.
We will research your case and identify why the SSA denied your claim. Then, we will represent you at your appeals hearing in front of an administrative law judge. In this hearing, we will present the evidence we collected that supports overturning the denial. In most cases, we leave this hearing with an approval for qualifying clients.
How Can I Speak to a Lawyer About My Disability Claim?
At Berger and Green, we can help you get the disability benefits you deserve. We will fight for you during the appeals process, appearing before the administrative law judge in your appeals hearing on your behalf. Call our office today at 412-661-1400 for a free consultation.